After a difficult start to his 2015 season in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, Rafael Nadal will continue his gradual return to top form, starting with strong showings in the opening week on the ATP World Tour. The Spaniard will begin his campaign at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open with a match-up against Germany’s Michael Berrer, whom Nadal has faced twice previously on the tour. Nadal leads the head-to-head series 2-0.
The world No. 3 began his year at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, where British No. 1 Andy Murray bludgeoned him in alarming fashion. However, while he only won two games against Murray on Friday, he was able to defeat Stan Wawrinka 7-6(1), 6-3 to secure third place at the event.
The Spaniard made it clear that he does not expect perfect performance this early in the season given his plague of injuries and recent surgeries. He does, however, want to perform at him best and remain competitive atop the rankings.
“My goal is try to be competitive in every tournament that I’m going to play,” he said. “It’s normal that I’m going to need some time. But I’m happy; I’m practising well and working very hard. I’m doing the right things with the right attitude.
“I hope to be ready to compete here, and then if I am able to spend some time on court, every moment on court will help me [and] will be positive for my future. [I’m] going to try to play the best tournament possible.” Novak Djokovic, Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer also compete at the ATP World Tour 250 tournament.”
His opponent, Michael Berrer, sits at No. 127 in the rankings and is unlikely to present much of a challenge for Nadal. Of their two previous meetings, Nadal has lost a total of four games to the German, which bodes well for his chances of reaching the second round of the tournament with relative ease.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets